Just when we thought the upheaval of the Australian car industry couldn't get any worse now that all local manufacture is ceasing, GM looks set to do a deal with PSA Group which could put the new Commodore at risk.
After October 2017 Holden will solely become an importer of vehicles. Seeing as eighty percent of Holden products are already imported, going 100% OS wouldn't be too much of a problem you'd think. The Commodore is an iconic brand with nearly forty years of history for the badge. The Australian buying public won't take too kindly to just any old replacement for the big family six the Commodore has become.
Like that of how we received our first Commodore way back in 1978, it was based on an Opel product (the Opel Senator to be precise). The replacement for the Aussie Commodore will ironically again be an Opel - the Opel Insignia.
That may all be in jeopardy with Holden's parent company General Motors in talks with the French based PSA Group, owners of both Peugeot and Citroen. They are apparently in ongoing negotiations for the buyout by PSA of the European Opel/Vauxhall manufacturing network. If the negotiations are successful, it will make the PSA Group the second largest car manufacturer in Europe.
The Opel/Vauxhall group of companies have been slowly bleeding profits away from General Motors, with losses to the tune of $15 billion dollars since the year 2000. GM has deemed it's time to cut them loose as there seem to be no indication the Opel/Vauxhall group will be profitable anytime soon.
What will be the fallout to the current Opel/Vauxhall lineup? GM is very protective of its intellectual property and while a deal between GM and PSA looks likely, it will be for the Opel/Vauxhall manufacturing capacity only and not their current series of models. Unless the current Insignia relocates to a manufacturing plant either in the U.S., South Korea, Japan or South Africa, its future is in doubt and along with it, our new Commodore.
It also begs the question; if the Insignia is out, what will be the new candidate for the Commodore? If we look at the GM model pool, there are only two likely contenders - The Chevrolet Impala, available with a 3.6-litre V6 engine but front wheel drive only; or the much more exciting Buick LaCrosse, also equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 engine which comes standard with front wheel drive or optioned with all-wheel drive. Looks wise it's apparent that they share the same design language as the Opel Insignia, but will Australians accept an American sourced car as their new Commodore?
Or would it be better just to lay the Commodore badge to rest?